The creation of airport land use commissions (ALUCs) and the preparation of airport land use compatibility plans are requirements of the California State Aeronautics Act (Public Utilities Code Section 21670 et seq.). Provisions for creation of ALUCs were first established under state law in 1967. With limited exceptions, an ALUC is required in every county in the state. Furthermore, a compatibility plan is required for each public-use and military airport even in instances where an ALUC is not established.
The fundamental purpose of ALUCs is to promote land use compatibility around airports, specifically:
"…to protect public health, safety, and welfare by ensuring the orderly expansion of airports and the adoption of land use measures that minimize the public’s exposure to excessive noise and safety hazards within areas around public airports to the extent that these areas are not already devoted to incompatible uses."
Pursuant to state law (Public Utilities Code Section 21670(b), the responsibility for preparation of the individual Compatibility Plans for the five-public use airports in Merced County rests with the Merced County ALUC. The ALUC was established in 1976 and follows the standard, single-purpose format:
- Two members appointed by the Board of Supervisors;
- Two members appointed by cities;
- Two members appointed by airport managers; and
- A seventh member, representing the general public, appointed by the other six.
On June 21, 2012, the Merced County ALUC adopted the Merced County Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan and certified the associated Negative Declarations.